02 April 2007

Westfall Invasion

So there we were...

The four of us* spent Friday evening wandering up and down Longshore and the Gold Coast in Westfall, completing quests in the area and generally beating up on various poor murlocs. It was relatively amusing though not to challenging; we used the time to get used to group dynamics and on dealing with various mob situations (with a caster; with several casters; with several pets, and so forth).

As we came towards the end of the evening, we started to see several messages come across chat:

[3. Local Defense]: Westfall is under attack!
[3. Local Defense]: Sentinel Hill is under attack!
It's not unusual to find a Hordie or two going after Westfall, so we weren't too shocked. Still, there were quite a few of the messages, so we were curious to see what was going on.

Well, it was more than the usual three or five hunters making a nuisance. This was a full-on assault. Somewhere between 25 and 40 Horde had taken over Sentinel Hill. The crowd was composed of all races and classes; it was a milling mob. We couldn't see what levels anyone was, but they were obviously up there. All the killable NPCs were killed as soon as they spawned -- and that included Thor, the gryphon-master. It was impressive to see the massed Horde mob taking on Thor and his twin Enraged Gryphons.

This is actually pretty annoying, since that removes any way for players to easily exist the zone, save for a longish run to Stormwind. But I think Blizzard has taken a good approach with this. If the Alliance is going to just let the Horde run rampant in Alliance territory, they should pay a price. The gryphon masters and the enraged gryphons aren't pushovers, and it takes a lot to kill them. But it can be done, and it happened multiple times on the night.

I can only imagine what this is like on a PvP server. As it was, Eric's Draenei paladin, Cargarios, was the only one of us who had the guts to flag PvP and charge in. He knew what the result would be, but thought it would be a hoot. There weren't that many PvP characters around, so when he flagged, he got a lot of attention. What he didn't realize was the 5-min timeout on unflagging PvP; the repeated deaths started to get a bit annoying for him.

He had another key misconception: that the inns were safe zones. He finally was able to run into the inn without dying, only to get hit by a last shot from a hunter's gun. I must say, Draenei die very impressively.

Stormwind was either unable or unwilling to mount an effective response. We watched for a while, in the hopes that a huge melee would erupt, but nothing was forthcoming. So, we left -- I forget whether we ran back or waited for Thor to live for long enough to fly us home.

It was fun, in a way. But I'll keep this in mind as my characters level up. There will come a time when I'll repay the favor...

*We've added a fourth player to our team -- Danny. He's currently playing a night-elf hunter named Firegrin. He started a bit behind us, so he's slowly leveling up to catch us.

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